Author: amyhutchesson

WEEK TEN: Checking out!

For my final post, I will update you all on my progression through answering some of Sheridan’s (2014) auto ethnographic prompts. As the past few weeks have been very research based, it is time to reflect on this research and find a way to convey the content in way that is easy to understand, enjoyable to read and aesthetically pleasing! As I have established, my choice of platform is Tumblr, which to begin with was fantastic and very easy to navigate. Though now comes the time when I must produce my own posts and this is proving more difficult than I expected.

What were some of the key activities, conversations, or internal thoughts that I experienced while completing this research?

For me, interviewing my friend Kiki and also having hands-on experience at both my internship and in the luxury fashion vicinity of Sydney, was a highlight in my learning experience. These both enabled me to think outside the box with my research and helped me to gain a  different perspective to that which is online. I feel as though being able to speak to someone who is in the same age bracket yet from a different culture than myself was very interesting and gave me much to base my understanding of Chinese spending habits and the meaning associated with luxury products. Kiki also made me feel invigorated about my research as she found it interesting herself.

What did I learn from this experience? What was inspiring about this project and what was good about this experience? 

Reflecting upon this experience, I have gained a lot from it through my research and also efforts to conquer a new social networking platform. I have found that I thoroughly enjoy Tumblr for the purpose of gaining ‘purchase inspiration.’ Not only is it fantastic for this but to find a vast and specific collection of images. I enjoy the fluidity of re-blogging, which has helped me to build up a foundation of images that explore luxury fashion items and their prevalence on popular fashion blogs. Though whether I can gain any views, likes or re-blogs will prove interesting. I have taken some images similar to those online and will be posting them over the next few weeks to observe their readership. I will tag the ‘luxury’ items and tag the ‘high street’ items and see which gain the most likes and will also post some graphs on my Tumblr.

I have also gained considerable knowledge on the difference between Australian and Chinese consumer behaviour. It was interesting to discover why such behaviour was more prevalent in one community than in another. In saying this, the information I was able to gather is merely a fragment of the mass of information available, though it is my experience in gaining this information which is most valuable.

What would I like to change and why?

I feel as though I am very happy with the amount of research performed and the methodologies I chose to utilize in order to get understand my topic. I am not exceedingly satisfied with my choice of artifact as it is proving to be far more difficult than I anticipated. Though I can not change this now, I am also glad to have had such exposure to a new media platform. I am now better aware of what Tumblr is mostly useful and how it can assist me in other ways in the future.

If anyone would like to keep track of my progress over the next few weeks, here is the link to my Tumblr,

Thank you to everyone who read my posts and to those who commented! I have had a very positive experience progressively blogging each week and I wish everyone the best of luck with their assignments, and I hope you enjoy mine!

au revoir_heart



Sheridan R 2014, “Autoethnography: Researcher as Participant” in Teaching for Success, vol. 21, no. 1 at, accessed on 10th September 2014

WEEK NINE: Introducing Kiki – Expert Shopper, Shanghai

This week I interviewed a friend, Kiki who likes to refer to herself as an expert in the field of shopping. To understand the extent of this expertise, you must know that Kiki travels the globe on her shopping endeavours. This is due to the extensive research she does prior to embarking on a ‘mission of materialism.’

amy and kiki

It is well-known that Australia enforces drastic tax fees on all goods, even those produced in our own country! These prices can not compare to those in Asia or the USA. Some thing which we spoke about was the fact that both of us had noted that Oroton, an Australian brand though available globally, was more expensive to buy in Australia than many parts of Asia. This made me question whether perhaps this is why Australian culture does not have large focus on luxury items.

For example, Kiki wanted to purchase this Prada Saffiano leather bag. In Australia it was retailing online for $3525.50. This is not the store price, which she informed me was even more than this, as opposed to buying the exact same bag in the US, (instore/online price at Saks Fifth Avenue) for $2950. Now when we consider the exchange rate, this may not seem like much of a saving, though for someone who buys in bulk and this purchase is merely an accessory, these savings can total $100’s, even $1000’s of dollars.

prada bag shopstyle VS. saks ad prada

Australia certainly has a substantial fashion presence, with designers which are recognized globally, such as Ellery, Manning Cartell, Aurelio Costarella, Zimmermann and Josh Goot, though these brands are considered ‘luxury,’ they do not compete with European or American designers such as Chanel and Prada. There are on a different global scale for many reasons. The companies are no where near as extensive as these mentioned European brands, they are not as established and do not receive the same global attention. Where the products may prove to be a high quality standard, they are not using such premium materials, thus they can not charge such disproportionate prices.

There is not a large market for luxury designer labels in Australia. Just to search the availability of the items both online and in-store gives us a rough idea of the buying power in each country. I had a look at Australia, USA and China, to note how many Prada stores are available for consumers. I found that in this vast, enormous country, Australia we have merely four stores; Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast and Perth. Where USA has 18 stores across the country and China has 16 alone, this does NOT include the mass of stores throughout Japan and South East Asia.

When speaking to Kiki about this, she was not surprised and said she’d noticed that those Australians who did own luxury fashion items, were generally 40years or older. Whereas, where she is from, it is more common to see younger people sporting Chanel and Dior. When asked why she believes they spend so much on these items, Kiki found the question hard to answer. I asked her why she spends so much on these products and she stated that ‘she felt proud to wear her Prada bags.’ These items symbolize status in China and can present opportunities for you which you may not find with a cheap imitation.

I found this very interesting, as I pondered what kind of opportunities she meant. This leads me to my next weeks post!! I will include further information about our interview and I am going to have a look into a bit of Chinese history!

WEEK EIGHT: Global Consumer Economies


This week I have done some external research, through both primary and secondary methods. As I have been opened to this new concept of the auto-ethnographic study, I am realising that it is imploring me to get amongst my research and become the results. I have found some interesting articles which I will briefly explore throughout this post and I also have documented some observations I made when I went for a brief trip to Pitt St Mall in Sydney.

To begin with, some cold, hard facts.

According to an article entitled, “China overtakes US to be biggest economy by 2024,” in the Telegraph, the world’s largest consumer, the US will soon be defeated by China in 2024. As major global consumer economies, this will have drastic impact on many different countries, businesses, brands and consumers. The US had remained as the largest consumer economy for the past decade, though it has been predicted that by 2014, China will spend a staggering $10.5US trillion dollars on consumer spending. (Mianyang, 2014)

image 2

In an article entitled ‘Chinese Consumers; Doing it their way’ on the Economist website, Chinese consumer patterns are set to increase over the next decade. They are also at a high throughout the globe, where two thirds of Chinese luxury shopping is done outside of China. This is due to the fact that Chinese shoppers are savvy. They research and observe price differentiations throughout the globe. They do this through sites such as Alibaba, an online shopping giant in China. China has become the world’s biggest e-commerce market, spending $540US billion dollars in 2012. (Mianyang, 2014)

When considering consumption patterns of luxury items, I found some interesting information which coincided with that which I have observed myself. This week, I took a trip to Pitt St Mall in Sydney, where I visited several stores in order to make some observations. I entered ten stores, these are as following; Gucci, Hermès, Prada, Myer, Witchery, Saba, Country Road, Sportsgirl, Topshop and General Pants. I targeted three luxury fashion stores, three middle range stores, three ‘high street’ stores and one department store, in order to observe the difference in clientèle. I noted the amount of clients and their ethnicity over the course of 20 minutes in each store.

NB: Due to the fact that I was merely observing, the results can not be deemed 100% accurate.


Gucci- 6 clients, 4 ASIAN, 2 CAUCASIAN

Hermès- 4 clients, 4 ASIAN

Prada- 6 clients, 5 ASIAN, 1 CAUCASIAN

Myer- 50+ clients, 18 ASIAN, 39 CAUCASIAN, 3 AFRICAN

Witchery- 11 clients, 2 ASIAN, 9 CAUCASIAN

Saba- 6 clients, 6 CAUCASIAN

Country Road- 19 clients, 3 ASIAN, 16 CAUCASIAN

Sportsgirl- 23 clients, 4 ASIAN, 19 CAUCASIAN

Topshop- 26 clients, 8 ASIAN, 18 CAUCASIAN

General Pants- 19 clients, 9 ASIAN, 10 CAUCASIAN

As stated, these results are merely observations, made for the purpose of comparing my own results with quantitative research. I chose to make these observations as I am performing an auto-ethnographic study where I am embodying the research.

From these observations it is clear that more people frequent the high street stores rather than the luxury stores. From these results, it is evident that the cheaper stores bring more people. It was also interesting to note that more Asian people seem to frequent the luxury stores, where there were a lot more Caucasians in the high street stores. I will be making the same observations next week, in order to compare and contrast the results and consider other variables.


Mianyang, 2014, “Chinese Consumers; Doing it their way” in The Economist at, visited on 15th September 2014

Pin Chan S, 2014, “China takes over US to be biggest economy by 2024” in The Telegraph at, visited on 15th September 2014

Image One: Guo Gingming, The Economist

Image Two: Bain, The Economist

WEEK SEVEN: Making my auto-ethnographic methodology purchases (I mean, choices)


In order to ensure that I am on track with my auto-ethographic study, I have done some research on the best methodologies to choose for my study. As I already had an idea of the methodologies I would like to pursue, having further read about them, I am able to critically analyse whether I made the right decisions.

To begin with, I would like to establish a definition auto-ethnography. As I did this in one of my previous posts towards the beginning of the semester, I will reflect on what I have learnt from there.

“It seems to me that auto-ethnography is very self-directed learning, where we focus heavily on the primary research and produce results ourselves as opposed to essay writing which is heavily based on secondary research.I believe there are still secondary components to auto-ethnography, though we reflect and compare our own results according to other studies.” – Amy Hutchesson, 2014

According to Ellis (2004) & Holman Jones (2005) auto-ethnography is ‘an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze personal experience in order to understand cultural experience.’ Rick Sheridan (2014) explains that auto-ethnographers write narratives  about what they experience, making themselves a primary participant and/or subject of the research.

Upon reflection of my own understanding several weeks ago, I can establish that within my research on the significance of luxury fashion items and their prevalence on social media, I will need to embody my research in order to make it an auto-ethnographic study.

I will be performing reflexive, dyadic interview with a friend of mine, Kiki, who was born and raised in China. She will prove to be an interesting interviewee as she is interested in the fashion world and has experienced the differences in both China and Australia, having lived here for 3 years now. As stated by Ellis (2004), this dyadic interview will be heavily focused on my interviewee, though she will be taking into consideration the reason why this study is being taken place. Although her and I would often speak about fashion, performing such an interview will change the dynamic of our conversation.

I will also be utilizing layered accounts as a methodology, where I will document my changing understanding of luxury items and their social meaning. I will be able to document this in my Tumblr account and will be actively using the new found information in order to produce my own artefacts. I will ‘”invoke” readers to enter into the “emergent experience” of doing and writing research.’ (RONAI, 1992, p.123)


Ellis C et. al 2011, “Autoethnography: An Overview” in Qualitative Social Research, vol. 12, no. 1 at accessed on 10th September 2011

Sheridan R 2014, “Autoethnography: Researcher as Participant” in Teaching for Success, vol. 21, no. 1 at, accessed on 10th September 2014


WEEK SIX: Let’s go Online SHOPPING!

I am officially active on Tumblr and I am currently following a vast array of fashion blogs. I am also following some well-known K-POP idols such as Irene and Seulgi, who interestingly and also in slight contradiction to their own behaviour, have a song entitled, ‘Be Natural.’

I began my content analysis, whereby I am observing online presence of well-known and aspiring bloggers. I have noted similarities between the most popular or most commonly re-blogged images and also began to question why others do not succeed in the same way.  I also had a look at the hashtags used in the ‘popular’ blogs and realised that a lot of blogs will go unseen, due to the fact that they do not use this method of tagging.

These were key observations made this week;

-the most immediate items which come up when searching ‘fashion’ hash-tags into tumblr, are interestingly, not images of ‘luxury’ fashion items. There is a large range of individuals who blog their own creations. These images have not got a high rate of re-blogging.

fashion tumblr

-When an individual is sporting a luxury fashion item, it will often generate a greater amount likes though is not as often re-blogged. The images of the items alone are more likely to be ‘re-blogged.’


prada bag1

I believe this is because people use Tumblr as a means for online ‘window’ shopping. Due to the vast amount and flow of the content, it is always up to date with seasonal items. Over the past few days, my Tumblr has been flooded with images of new season collections, popular images of models backstage and luxury products galore!

An interesting observation was the impact of HASH-TAGGING. It is a blogger’s way to gain viewers as it provides a method for people to easily search a word or name and then they will filter through each image with the hashtag. For success on Tumblr, it is essential to hashtag, as this is how people search for images/content.

When hash-tagging, general words are used, as people are more likely to find the image. It is also effective to tag the brands of the items, especially when it is a luxury item. This ensures recognition of the item and also filter’s the image to people who are searching for the brand.

This week made me question why these luxury fashion items assist people in gaining such readership? What do these items represent? It is different for each individual and for each individual audience member? It is certainly clear that a lot of people who enjoy fashion, think similarly in the sense that the more expensive the item, the more desirable. But why is this?

WEEK 5: Progress through the digital world of shopping


Tumblr. Tumblr is a micro-blogging, social networking platform on which individuals can post various multimedia under a title which is linked to their name. It is actively used by 197.3 million people as of the 1st August 2014, according to the ‘about us’ section on Tumblr.(1) It was bought by Yahoo! on the 20th of June 2013 and the founder of Tumblr, David Karp remains the CEO till this day.

Tumblr is mainly compiled of images. These range drastically in their content and are also often ‘re-blogged’ by individuals who want it to appear of their page. The site has found that as of 1st August 2014, an average of 95 million posts were blogged per day. (2) This was a leading reason for my choice to use Tumblr as my digital artefact. Other reasons include the fact that I have never used this platform before, so it will be a great opportunity to get to know the site. Also, throughout my research of this topic, I found that Tumblr is a very popular media platform for fashion bloggers.

From here, I will be searching through some well-known and popular fashion blogs and also seeking smaller, local blogs and making comparisons between them. I will look at what aspects of these blogs make them popular and whether it has to do with the items that the individuals are wearing. This will make up the content analysis sector of my auto-ethnographic study. With this information, I will attempt to take the results which I have found and make my own fashion blog, through Tumblr. I will note down details such as the number of times my images are re-blogged, views and which posts gain the most attention and why.

I will also take a look into online spending habits across different brands and whether individuals purchase luxury items online or offline. Luckily, I am capable of obtaining information on Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors purchases throughout Australia and numerous different countries in Asia. I am also able to see how much of this shopping is done online. This information will broaden my knowledge of luxury item expenditure.

I also plan to speak to a friend of mine who was born in China about her opinion on spending and luxury items. It will be interesting to have a personal view on the topic as she will have some inside knowledge or opinion.




  1. Tumblr “About Us”. Tumblr. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  2. “Press Information”. Tumblr. Retrieved August 1, 2014
  3. Unknown Author, 2014,  “About Tumblr” in Wikipedia at accessed on 30th August 2014

Tumblr Image: Creative Commons-Share Alike License, “Tumblr logo,” found on Google Images used on 30th August 2014


Week 4: Insta-famous Style Bloggers

This week I took a look at the ever-present ‘instafamous’ female, across Asia and the Asian diaspora. I questioned what these individuals post and why? I also noted the most exciting aspect of the blogging experience, the views and opinions of the audience! I also delved into the use of the hashtag as it is a means of connecting oneself to a brand or label.   

It is overly common to come across a fashion blogger these days. If you are to type ‘international fashion blogger’ into google, not only do you receive nearly 60 million hits, but the initial results consist of a series of ranking systems. There are a series of top 100 lists in which most include numerous blogs written people from all across Asia. One particular website, ‘Signature 99,’ lists the top 99 most influential blogs in the world. According to this site, a blog entitled ‘Hypebeast’ written by a girl from Hong Kong ranks #6 and is in the top .1% in the world.

Similarly, ‘Sensate’ website lists a series of well-known bloggers, including internationally successful Singaporean based online store, ‘Her Velvet Vase.’

Commonly these blogs include images of the blogger and their new purchases or daily outfits and they link these products to the according site or even sell the product itself. As I follow several bloggers and Instagram accounts myself, I constantly note the prevalence of luxury items. I also find it interesting that these items seem to be ‘hashtag-worthy’ as opposed to some that are not.


This particular example is Kryz Uy from the Philippines. Uy is a luxury fashion blogger who posts images across the globe, on her travels and as seen in this image, she presents herself with brands such as Chanel. My interest in this is what and why these brands represent such value in the fashion world. Considering a bag like this one in the image retails for approximately $2000AUD or more, it represents a certain meaning for those who recognise it. Whether this meaning is based on your passion for being a part of the fashion world, or whether it means you have copious amounts of money is up to the receiver to interpret.

It is an interesting culture and in this particular representation, capitalistic notions are brought about. Fashion is most certainly interwoven throughout the arts and media world, though it can be seen as highly materialistic and superficial. My interest lies in understanding where this boundary is formed, as I personally battle with its two-sidedness throughout my career and personal life. 


MSAIDYL March 2013, “Top 40 Asian Bloggers” on Art Becomes You at visited on 24th August 2014

Ousley YM, 2014, “The Top Global Style Blogs: Spring 2014” on Signature 9 at visited on 24th August 2014

August 2014, “Personalised just for me” in Camille Tries to Blog at visited on 24th August 2014

WEEK THREE: Fashion culture and the ‘IT’ crowd.

Fashion is a trillion dollar global industry. It was estimated at $1.7USD trillion in 2012 and employs 75 million people globally. Fashion is rich and diverse in its culture, expanding itself into each corner of the world. Fashion is a difficult concept to define as it represents something different for each and every individual in the world.

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” – Coco Chanel

Fashion is interrelated with image and the way which we are perceived by the world and perhaps more importantly, the way which we would like to be seen. This means that we can associate ourselves with a culture, hobby or passion and enables and facilitates communication.

There are thousands of influential people within the fashion world, as it combines not only designers, but photographers, artists, choreographers, directors, editors, journalists and many more. Issey Miyake is an exceptionally well-known and highly regarded designer who was born and resides in Japan. He is well known for his avant-garde, technology driven, Eastern designs. Interestingly his choice of models are predominantly white Caucasians, which suggests that he is designing for this market.


He refrains from public attention and it does not appear that he receives paparazzi or forced media coverage. For a designer, this is a positive thing, as they are representing their own label and their actions can directly affect sales of the product.

NB: An important client of Miyake’s was Steve Jobs who had Miyake personally design his signature black turtle neck shirt.

On the other hand, Alexander Wang is another high end, well known American designer from a Taiwanese diaspora, who receives copious media coverage. This prevalence in the media, pictured next to famous celebrities such as below, with Kanye West, Kate Bosworth and Rihanna has built an industry name for Wang as an active socialite.

wang 1wang 2wang 3

Wang can be found using more Asian models than Miyake, though still predominantly uses white Caucasians. I find this interesting as both designers actively associate with their Asian heritage and this is evident in their designs and yet there is a culture in fashion with imagery. It seems as though we are moving towards a more homogenous fashion world as each style is gradually becoming more intertwined with the next.

I would like to look further into this observation, and discover what appeals to consumers and how does this affect our lives? How is it different throughout Asia, considering there is such a huge market for luxury items, such as Miyake’s and Wang’s products? Why do these designers appeal to certain individuals? Is culture an accurate term to use or does it need to be refined?



Unknown Author, 2014, “Global Fashion Industry Statistics” in Fashion United at visited on 17th August 2014

Image 1: Bowring L, 2013, “Issey Miyake runway” in Daily Chronicles at used on 18th August 2014

Image 2: Fortier M, 2014, “Alexander Wang” in Chaos Magazine at used on 18th August 2014

Image 3 and 4: Weisman A, 2014, “Alexander Wang” in Insider Australia at used on 18th August 2014

GROUP WORK: Beauty or the Beast?

Group Members

Amy Hutchesson
Renee Stewart
Gemma Jamison

As a group, we have decided to research the culture of beauty and obsession with image throughout Asia, specifically concerning image-related subcultures throughout Japan, Korea and China e.g. harajuku, kawaii, aegyo cultures. We intend to research this culture primarily through platforms such as Tumblr, Instagram and blogs.

The reason why we have chosen this topic is because we all have a fascination with this field. Image is an interesting and vast topic and everyone in the world is involved with it. It is the way in which we choose to present ourselves to the world and can dictate and change so much of our lives.
With our studies of Asia, this topic seemed appropriate as image and beauty is such a large part of these cultures.


WEEK TWO: Narrowing a Broad Sphere of Ideas

I have decided to go with the guided suggestion to utilize my experience at my internship for this auto-ethnographic study.To begin with, I’d like to broadcast my understanding of auto-ethnographic studies, with the hope that I will gain some feedback from you readers!

It seems to me that auto-ethnography is very self-directed learning, where we focus heavily on the primary research and produce results ourselves as opposed to essay writing which is heavily based on secondary research.I believe there are still secondary components to auto-ethnography, though we reflect and compare our own results according to other studies.

With this knowledge, I have found some direction with my topic of research. My internship is at company that works closely with some major magazines in Australia. We work with luxury brands, doing their marketing and advertising and building their public relations campaigns.

 An area of interest for me is the way in which ‘Asian’ cultures spend money. Stereotypically, Asians spend a lot of money on luxury items, such as Louis Vuitton handbags and they are marketed to appeal to Asian consumers. Interestingly, these countries produce a vast majority of the world’s retail goods, meaning there is not a shortage of other, cheaper options. So my question is why they are so attracted to spending such enormous amounts of money on these items.

 I would like to look at Asia’s retail addiction and compare this between different Asian cultures. I know from my travel through parts of Asia, that each country has a very different culture this is reflected through their buying patterns. At this stage, I believe that this idea of Asian retail addiction may be a reflection of Chinese spending patterns, though I am not sure yet (further study necessary).

 chinese shopping

Image: Creative Commons

hong kong shopping

Image: Creative Commons

In order to incorporate a digital side to the study, I will conduct my analyses’ on the online stores. I will make comparisons between a brand and its stores in different countries. I will then seek information on purchasing habits in different cultures through both primary and secondary research. As I have a lot of Asian friends, I will be able to perform some qualitative research such as interviews and focus groups.

Having said all of this, I would like to ‘backtrack’ and establish that I have generalized these statements as potential hypotheses’ for the subject. I am not at all assuming that they are correct and will endeavor to find the answer.

This week in one of the videos I briefly heard mention of Carl Jung and his theory/idea of ‘archetypes.’ I would like to look further into Jungian archetypes, as I think it will give reason for our need to generalize everything, such as ‘Eastern culture’ and ‘Western culture.’


Jung Archetypes: Unknown Author, 2013, “Jung’s Archetypes” in Changing Minds at accessed on 07/08/2014

Image 1: Tempra L, September 2013, Chinese Luxury Tax image, on Creative Commons: Asian luxury shopping at used on 07/08/2014

Image 2: AFPRelaxnews, August 2013, Hong Kong Luxury Bag Loans image, on Creative Commons: Asian luxury shopping at used on 07/08/2014